A magnificent and profound view of desperation and Society's indifference to it.
Many of us cannot even fathom Rudy's situation, his age, his innocence ... so inspired by the city of Barcelona, and so unaware of the brutality that will rip his life apart and ravage his soul. Through Martin's sometimes eloquent, sometimes profound, and sometimes downright blunt words, he pulls us into Rudy's painful world and gives us more than a looking glass view of what it means to be in crisis. From the initial state of panic, to the state of numbing acceptance, and then finally to the epiphanies that come with the state of analysis, whereby one evaluates the state of their life, the state of the world around them, down to state of the fibers of their socks as a metaphor for the very fibers of their being. One hopes, in the end, that they will have found some enlightenment and strength enough to pull themselves from the abyss. And we can't help but root for Rudy, hoping that he will find his.
The story is beautifully crafted -- the way Martin describes all of the wonderful smells and textures of the city and its peoples -- brilliant. And that makes for a sharp contrast to the way Rudy begins to see things after a heinous incident, which befalls him shortly after his arrival. As we move through the story, Rudy begins to change, and the change is evident, you can feel the bile welling up inside of him. That is what is so magnificent about this story ... the torture of change, losing yourself, watching your innocence bled from you little by little ... much like succumbing to a thousand leaches as they gnaw at your heart and soul. The realities of humanity are akin to leaches, slimy, little black shadows clinging to your flesh. They anesthetize you first, and as times drifts by, you don't notice them anymore as they gradually bleed you dry. This change is the true torture of the story, for change is an inevitability, you cannot stop it ... everything you see, hear, and experience every day of your life changes you a bit. And what's done cannot be undone.
There is so much to this story, so, so much to get lost in. Will Rudy escape his plight, will he be able to preserve any of his innocence, or will he perish, ravaged by a strange city and its thin, dark shadows.
Martin's words are fluid and familiar, slipping in and out of consciousness, a moment of philosophy at one turn, and a moment of raw reality at the next -- sometimes savage, yet poetic at the same time. A magnificent effort ... Now I wait with bated breath for the next, for Rudy definitely sinks into the skin.